Psychotic Waltz – The God-Shaped Void
Release Date: 14th February 2020
Label; Inside Out Music
Format: LP, CD, DL
In a time when waiting over a decade for a new album (Tool, Peter Gabriel hang your heads in shame) is twenty three years pushing the limits? Actually, we can declare that Psychotic Waltz’s The God-Shaped Void is worth the wait.
At one time, PW were a band who were the leading lights in the Prog Metal scene alongside the likes of Fates Warning; their last album Bleeding in 1996 marked the last we’d see of them.
Their return as the original line up in 2010 for some gigs clearly switched the band back on as a going concern and after seven years of writing, we find ourselves with the feeling that Psychotic Waltz has never been away.
We also see the planets aligning with Jens Bogren being available to master the album in the same way that he seems to have the magic touch in making his band sound huge. Psychotic Waltz, this is your time!
And the opening salvo of Devils And Angels is some comeback. Psychotic Waltz declaring, like the devils and angels themselves, “we will rise.” When they could have burst forth with a fast paced opener, it’s a considered re-introduction. One that sets the scene for some quality and classy prog metal that avoids some of the cliches and overplaying technicality of the genre.
Big, bold and melodic, packed with hooks and eminently listenable, All The Bad Men continues an impressive run with a slow burner led by a measured pace, chunky riffing and some fine lead lines. Whether it’s Dan Rock or main guitarist Brian McAlpin providing the solos might not be clear, but what is apparent is that The God-Shaped Void is the result of the mighty efforts of a tremendous band at work.
On top of adding guitar and flute, singer Devon Graves is in fine form, keeping his pipes well tuned in the meantime with his work with Deadsoul Tribe and Arjen Lucassen.
While the focus is on strong songwriting, Pull The String ups the heaviness factor – you could possibly imagine Sabbath downtuning and doing a good job with this one. “Angels carry guns…” conveys a dark image as Devon lets loose with some flute before the crunching riff continues and carries a fine guitar solo to add to the drama. Demystified is another track where the flute is featured after combining on the pastoral acoustic intro although for the standout moment, look no further than Sisters Of The Dawn. Again channelling a bit of Ozzy era Sabbath where Graves sings with the guitar line, it evolves into an epic piece as he questions “what have we created here?…can we get out of here?“
It cements a fine return. For anyone who’s not been around in the past twenty or so years, a chance to discover something you’ve been missing. For those who knew all along, to lift a line from one of the long term fans who’ve posted comments online, it feels like the Beatles are back together again.
Listen to All The Bad Men from the album here: